|Skiing South of the Border
|Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.
By Brad Chamberlin
With all of our outstanding ski resorts in Colorado, many residents simply
say "why leave the state to ski?" While this is a valid question, our
neighbor to the south, New Mexico offers ski opportunities unlike
anything in Colorado. New Mexico's largest mountain chain, the Sangre
de Cristos, are home to the majority of the state's ski areas. From Red
River south to Pajarito, skiers and riders will cherish their adventures in
the land of enchantment.
Just south of the Colorado border lies Red River Ski Area. Red River is
home to a quaint old fashion ski town with plenty of ski runs to challenge
snow riders of all abilities. Everyone from beginner skiers to experts will
find the terrain they are seeking here. On a powder day, be sure to ski
over to the Silver Chair area. Lines are typically non-existent and the
snow is great. The ski area is only about thirty minutes north of Taos, and
about forty five minutes from Fort Garland, Colorado.
For more information on Red River, click here.
|Various ski scenes at Red River.
When people think of skiing in New Mexico, typically Taos Ski Valley
comes to mind. Taos is truly a skier's mountain (no snowboarding
allowed), which keeps to the vision of the area's founder, Earnie Blake.
The Ski Valley is located about five hours from the Denver area and offers
some of the most challenging steeps in the Rocky Mountain Region.
Upon arriving at the base, Al's run, looms above over 1,000' of vertical
drop. At the summit, the West Basin and hike-to-trails are the locals
choice during powder days.
For more information on Taos Ski Valley, click here.
|A powder day off of
the Kachina lift.
Angel Fire is truly one of New Mexico's hidden gems, although their average
snowfall is considerable less than Taos. Located east of the Taos area, Angel
Fire is easily reachable for a day trip. The ski area is primarily an intermediate
mountain with wide open trails and few crowds. It also boasts New Mexico's
only two high speed chairlifts. Expert skiers are also easily entertained with
runs such as Nice Day, Hell's Bells, and Sluice Box.
Pajarito Mountain is located outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. The area is
run by the local ski club, which creates a great since of community on the
slopes. Although Pajarito is a decently sized ski area, it does not operate a
snowmaking system. On poor southern snow years, the ski area does not
open. Plans are in the works to bring a limited system to the ski area, but
permits are still pending. The ski area also runs a limited schedule during the
week, for exact operating days see www.skipajarito.com
On the mountain, Pajarito offers excellent groomed trails and moguls. Experts
are challenged on the Mother Lift with runs like Sidewinder, Precious, and
Breathless. For crusing, trails off of the Aspen, Townsight and Spruce lifts are
prime. Skiers and riders should note that the Townsight lift only operates on
weekends and holidays .
|Pajarito's varied terrain